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Octopus Digital Strategy

Nasser Sahlool

Welcome to Octopus. This series is an exploration of digital strategy, its place within the broader marketing ecosystem and the people who have made it their career. It is designed to help prospective digital strategists get started in the industry and chart a roadmap for their careers with insights and perspectives from those that have worked in this space and helped shape it. Archived from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/octopus-digital-strategy/id994408383. Items in this collection are restricted.

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Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 30, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies”. Jack Kerouac always had a way to capture a moment. And this is the moment, at the 2-year mark, to say goodbye.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 23, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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Why do people buy? They believe that what you are selling is going to fulfill their need. And that's the key word...believe. For them to believe this fact, they have to trust. And in an industry based on artifice, to instil trust, nothing matters more than authenticity.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 16, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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We have previously discussed the emerging opportunities and threats presented by automation and artificial intelligence. Make no mistake, they are going to have a profound effect on our industry and society. But all is not lost. As we have previously outlined, the digital strategist is poised to thrive in this age of upheaval, and one of the key roles they will fulfill is the role of the integrator.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 9, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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You sit in the eye of the storm, pulled in a hundred different directions. How do you stay focused on the right outcomes? How do you turn the chaos and energy to your advantage? You do it by remembering who you work for. You do it by being the client advocate.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 1, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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Being a strategist is about delivering outcomes predicated on understanding and driving human behaviours and actions. It is about understanding who your audience is, how they think, what they want, and delivering a message that motivates them to take the actions you want. Yes, in order to do so, you need to understand how to align and manipulate digital tools to deliver the right experience to the right person at the right time. But at the heart of this is an understanding of people in all our...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Mar 26, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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Consensus can be a dirty word. It implies compromise. Compromise invites committee thinking. And committee thinking is associated with safe and uninteresting solutions. But without consensus, we can't deliver a digital strategy. How do we achieve consensus while remaining daring and innovative?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Mar 19, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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Digital media is having a moment, one that if not aggressively addressed will turn into a full blown crisis of confidence. Procter & Gamble CMO Marc Pritchard caused a sensation when he called on digital media providers to become transparent in the face of "crappy advertising accompanied by even crappier viewing experiences". Major advertisers, including the UK government, the Guardian and Havas have frozen all Google and YouTube advertising in the UK. What on earth is happening,...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Mar 13, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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The Ancient Greeks wrote that you should know thyself. But self awareness is a seemingly rare trait. We rush to talk, to get our opinion across without thinking about the impact on how we are perceived. Why is self awareness so important, why is it so rare, and how can we become more self aware?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Mar 5, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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Overlooked, sidelined and dismissed, soft skills are considered less important than hard technical skills and experience. But as you grow your career, they become ever more important. What are soft skills, why are they not considered important when you first start your career, and why do they become more important as you grow?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Feb 25, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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When you're in the middle of the scrum, with a thousand requests coming at you at the same time, how do you prioritize? How do you deliver to expectations? How do you maintain the quality of your thinking and output? How do you stay sane?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Feb 19, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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The strategist sits at the heart of the organization; is it any wonder your colleagues look to you for leadership? What are the traits that make a strategist a good leader, and how do you best provide that leadership as a strategist?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Feb 12, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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It's a nebulous and subjective thing. Who decides what great work looks like, and why? What's more, we aren't creative directors. We are digital strategists. Our work isn't designed to inspire, amuse or move. Our work is designed to perform. So before you launch, and until you have results that validate your strategy, how can you know if your work is great?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Feb 5, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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Bringing order to chaos. Simplicity to complexity. Vision to practicality. The strategist is there to align stakeholders, solve problems and achieve ambitious objectives. But doing so is not a straightforward task. Not unless you have a strategic framework to depend on.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 29, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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The spoken word. It connects in ways that the written does not. Maybe that is why the podcast, an old delivery platform that many thought was past its prime, is enjoying such a revival. The podcast allows us to tell stories, provide context and connect on a human level, and it holds a very important place in the role of an integrated digital strategy.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 22, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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You have an aggressive annual objective. You need an innovative strategy to achieve it. But each week you take on developing your strategy represents 2% of your year, and sets you that much further behind your goal. You now have a steeper hill to climb, and in less time. How do you square the requirement to spend an appropriate amount of time researching and planning, with the need for speed?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 15, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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‘If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea’. Writer, poet and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beautifully articulated perspective on motivating people gives us insight into the role of the visionary. But what does it mean to be one, why is it important to be a visionary and why is the strategist the right person to take on that role?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 9, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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Strategy is not about immediate impact, but rather about long term achievement of ambitious objectives. It doesn't constantly change; if it did then it wouldn't be strategy. So once the strategy is set, and the implementation begins, is there a role for the strategist? I believe the strategist is critical for the successful execution of a strategy once it launches because they fulfill 3 key roles.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 2, 2017 Nasser Sahlool
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"I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think". This quote from Socrates, articulated over 2,000 years ago, sits at the heart of the teaching method he created, the Socratic Method. This debate driven approach to challenging ideas and finding common ground is as valid today in the context of the work of the strategist as it was in the classical age.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Dec 26, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe". Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States until his assassination in 1865. During his time as President, he led the nation through one of the most traumatic experiences in its history, the Civil War. A deeply astute politician, Lincoln was a frontiersman and self-trained lawyer, and is a man from whom we can draw three key lessons to make us better strategists.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Dec 18, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Artificial intelligence. Machine learning. Cognitive computing. The robots are coming, and they are going to have a profound impact on our industry. But don't despair. Don't give up. Don't rage against the machine. Prepare yourself for their arrival, because the age of automation needs the strategist more than ever.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Dec 11, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Bill Clinton once famously said ‘I feel your pain’. Not ‘I understand‘ or ‘I see‘, but ‘I feel‘. Empathy. It’s the difference between being an observer and an active participant. And in our data first world, it is often overlooked. But without empathy, we can’t execute on our vision. Without empathy we can’t lead. Without empathy our campaigns won’t work. Without empathy, we can’t be strategists.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Dec 4, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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'If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?' Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi was a 13th Century poet, scholar and Sufi mystic whose writings continue to inspire across cultures and languages, making him the best selling poet in the United States. Rumi's teachings are guided by the concept of Tawhid, or the union with the Beloved, and that the path for achieving this was through music, poetry and dance. Within these teachings are universal truths that allow us, as...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Nov 26, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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In 1997, Apple unveiled its ‘Think Different’ campaign, marking its re-emergence as a powerhouse in the industry. The idea of being different is not only compelling, it’s important. In a crowded marketplace, you can do what everyone else is doing, or you can apply the concepts of the Blue Ocean Strategy and create your own market. These concepts matter today in the practice of digital strategy, and will matter ever more as the space becomes more crowded and competitive.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Nov 20, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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How do you figure out a path if you don't know the destination? What about if you have no idea about the resources at your disposal to get there? This is not a fanciful or hypothetical question, but a challenge that we are faced with often as strategists. When you have too little information, it can be tempting to walk away from the situation. Rather than do that, try seeing the challenge for what it really is, an opportunity, and apply a guiding approach to pierce the veil of ignorance and...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Nov 12, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Anxiety. Despair. Paralysis. Rapid and dramatic change can be dizzying and debilitating. But it need not be. If we prepare ourselves appropriately, and approached pragmatically, change can be empowering and transformative. Here's how to thrive in a changing environment.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Nov 7, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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It's a common problem in digital marketing. We jump straight to execution without first developing the strategy. For many that work in this space, strategy is nothing more than a collection of tactics. Why is this sentiment so prevalent, how does it impact our work, and what is the benefit of treating strategy as more than a collection of tactics?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Oct 30, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Too often, when we think of our work in digital marketing, we consider it purely through the lens of the technology we are working with. In doing so, we forget the strategic frameworks that have been applied in planning for decades. How relevant are these frameworks to the work of the digital strategist, and how do they apply? To answer that question, let's look at one of the most interesting, Porter's 5 Forces.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Oct 23, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Some weeks it feels like all we do is fight fires. This can be exhausting and demoralizing. But worse that that, it can serve to cause us to take our eyes off our goals, lose perspective, and make decisions that might alleviate the short term pain, but work to undermine the long term strategic objective. Here's how to win in difficult situations.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Oct 16, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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In 1633, Galileo Galilei was convicted of and imprisoned for heresy by the Roman Inquisition for arguing that the planets revolve around the Sun, rather than around the Earth. Astronomer, physicist, philosopher and mathematician, Galileo, along with Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and other polymaths came to characterize an era of discovery, creativity and progress, often in the face of intense resistance. They were men of the Renaissance, and as digital strategists, we should look to them as...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Oct 9, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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To be called Machiavellian is to be considered unscrupulous, immoral and deceitful. This is a man that wrote that 'since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved', and 'if an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared'. Machiavelli did not see people as inherently good, but wrote that 'of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain'. But in...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Sep 25, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Independent. Contrarian. Brilliant. Difficult. Nimble. Aloof. The digital strategist may be a multi-disciplinary octopus, but in our everyday skins, we can also resemble our feline friends. We like to work alone and on our own schedule. We don't like to follow the direction of others. We can come off as arrogant. We sometimes chase shiny objects. So how do you keep a team of strategists focused on working together, working within a broader team and delivering the best work that they can?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Sep 18, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Matteo is the Senior Officer of Digital Communications and Audience Engagement at the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere region. In this role, he is responsible for uniting the Communications and Development departments in order to create a comprehensive digital strategy that both ensures IPPF/WHR's enhanced presence in social media and strengthens the organization's online fundraising efforts. Prior to joining IPPF/WHR, Matteo spent more than eight years building...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Sep 10, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Finding the right digital strategist to join your team is hard. Not only are you hiring in a competitive marketplace, it is incredibly difficult to evaluate the skills of individuals in this space. The word ‘strategist’ is overused to the point that it is almost meaningless. In any given interview for this role, I could find myself speaking with a salesperson or a technologist. And the interview itself is an odd kabuki dance where it often feels like the participants are masking their true...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Sep 5, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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You've had a bad day. Your project isn't delivering. Your colleagues are grumpy. The client is being unreasonable. Your manager is disinterested. And when the phone rings, there's a recruiter on the other end of the line, painting a vision of opportunity elsewhere. How do you know when to ignore the call of greener pastures and when to move on?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Sep 4, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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It's the most common complaint about digital strategists. We swoop in, ask some questions, dictate direction and then leave it to others to implement. All too often, it's a fair description of how many choose to conduct themselves. But without collective ownership of the strategy, it is unlikely to ever get implemented correctly, if at all. Without implementation, we can never prove the value of our ideas. And the way to get things implemented is through the mental sleight of hand called...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Aug 27, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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You're halfway through your presentation and you feel good. Your audience is receptive, their body language positive and engaged. All except one person. He's sitting with his arms crossed, defensive and with a troubled expression on his face. Suddenly, his expression changes, he leaps out of his chair and pointing at you, calls out 'wait a second...he's a fraud!'. Maybe this hasn't happened to you. It has yet to happen to me. And yet, it amazes me how often I feel like this is going to happen....
Octopus Digital Strategy
Aug 22, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Our parents graduated, entered the workforce in their twenties, and stayed with the same organization, often in a similar field for the entirety of their careers. They were also often able to comfortably afford their own homes in their early twenties, but hey, it was a different time. Everything has since changed. The security that previous generations experienced in their work no longer exists. We live in a time of anxiety and change like we have never seen before. Technology has disrupted...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Aug 14, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Preparation. It's at the heart of the Art of War. The idea that knowledge is power, that careful and cold-eyed examination of your relative strengths and weaknesses and those of your competitors are what have made this a...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Aug 7, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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General Douglas MacArthur once famously said that ‘old soldiers never die; they just fade away’. Is it time for the digital strategist to just fade away? Have we reached the point of maturity and integration in our industry that there is no longer a need for our role? Should we now simply be considered as marketing strategists?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jul 30, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on". Ulysses S. Grant was an uncomplicated, plain-speaking man who had an exceptional career. The most acclaimed Union general of the American Civil War who went on to win election twice as the President of the United States, Grant's early career was one characterized by failure that could have led to a lifetime of historical obscurity had it...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jul 25, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” If you need to be in control at all times, don’t choose this career. If you think all decisions should be based solely on logic, don’t choose this career. If you fear change, don’t choose this career.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jul 17, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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In his book, Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,  Malcolm Gladwell argues that spontaneous decisions are as good as, or even better than, carefully planned and considered ones. Does this fly in the face of the role of the strategist?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jul 10, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Ours is a competitive and complex industry. To stay ahead of the pace, indeed, to set the pace, we need to constantly learn, constantly think, constantly be challenged. We need to integrate our work and lives. But sometimes, it all comes to a crashing halt if we don't stop, rest and recharge.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jul 4, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Whether moving into a strategic role, or to the next role as a strategist, you will have to navigate a number of interviews. In any given month, I am lucky enough to interview a lot of people for a wide variety of roles within our organization. I always look for the same traits and am consistently baffled when people don't exhibit them. What do you need to know, to prepare, and to articulate in order to ace the interview?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jun 26, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Buying fire insurance while your house is burning. Googling 'how to move to Canada' after your compatriots have voted poorly. After a calamity has happened is the worst time to prepare for it. So what is the best way to fireproof your digital strategy career?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jun 12, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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'You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength'. Almost 2,000 years ago, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote his masterpiece, Meditations, 'a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration'. I believe that the philosophy he espoused, stoicism, is one that is perfectly in tune with the role of the...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jun 12, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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The idea of being the lone wolf is an attractive one for the strategist. As generalists whose skills are in high demand, it is easy to feel like a singular talent whose best path would be as a sole contributor. This idea is a mistake. We have actively explored the fact that the skill set we bring and cultivate as strategists is an unusual combination of digital expertise and business acumen. In an industry of specialists, we are the generalists that pull the various elements together. We...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jun 6, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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'I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead'. Mark Twain would have been writing about digital practitioners had he written that today. How many times have we sat through interminable presentations with 140 slides of data, minutely dissecting every point, speculating endlessly on the causes of fluctuations in performance? For people who work in communications, we sometimes find it hard to communicate. Why is that? Why can't we be direct? Why can't we get to the...
Octopus Digital Strategy
May 29, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”’. Contrast that quote by Jack Kerouac with the direction we are given in our everyday work lives to comply. Comply with...
Octopus Digital Strategy
May 23, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Writing in Quartz, Kevin Delaney recently stated that he doesn’t “think anyone should have the word strategy in their job title”. Needless to say, I beg to differ. But what is the basis of the argument he articulates? What is the case for the prosecution?
Octopus Digital Strategy
May 15, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Many years ago, while scuba diving in Dahab in the Sinai I watched as an octopus fought for its life. Perched on the side of an underwater cliff, this octopus was being attacked by half a dozen fish. These fish were working together to pull it off the wall and out into the open water where presumably they were going to tear it apart. Every time it looked like the fish were close to achieving their objective, the octopus would twist and reach out a tentacle to grab on to the coral. It kept...
Octopus Digital Strategy
May 8, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock". That's Orson Welles as Harry Lime in the 1949 classic, The Third Man. The subtext is clear; conflict breeds innovation. And yet conflict that is not constructively channelled can be deeply...
Octopus Digital Strategy
May 1, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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There is an undeniable trend towards building in-house teams and away from using agency services. This trend has led to fierce debate and introspection in agency land, not to mention a fair amount of self-pity. But I would argue that if handled appropriately, this is a positive development that should be embraced and that reinforces the value of the digital strategist.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 23, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Strategy is not a short lived endeavour. It is the mechanism to make sense of chaos and to achieve success over the long term. But staying focused on a long term objective and executing consistently is difficult. It needs single minded purpose. It needs a clear understanding of objectives and expected outcomes. It needs inspiration. And it needs stamina.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 18, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Everything you have been told is a lie. There is no such thing as work/life balance in our industry since it is based on the assumption that the work stops at some point. But the work doesn’t stop because the Internet does not sleep. In a globalized world, where your audience, your competition and your clients are constantly changing and demanding, there is no way to separate working hours and fallow times. Forget being able to switch off and unplug if you want to build a career in this...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 11, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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One of the most satisfying elements of work as a digital strategist is the moment of victory. That moment when you hear that you've been selected, when your idea is to be implemented, or the recommendations you made turned performance around are the things we work for. But we have to learn how to take these victories in stride, to channel our emotions appropriately, and to win with grace.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Apr 2, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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It is the worst thing that we have to deal with in our work. It will happen more often than you expect, or frankly deserve. It is an inevitable fact of agency life that you will be fired by your client at some point in your career. Why does it happen, and how do you handle the bitterness of rejection while learning your lessons in order to become a better strategist?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Mar 27, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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The long hours. The crazy deadlines. The incessant pressure. The lack of resources. The constant questions. The eighth set of revisions. The lack of briefing. The 7 hour delay at Laguardia airport. There's a lot we deal with in our day to day work. So why do we put up with it? It's not as if we are out of touch, out of fashion and out of options. Agencies are continuously raided for talent by the tech giants and brands for in house teams. We are heavily in demand and can take our skills...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Mar 20, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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We are entering a new age in our relationship with technology, an age where our devices understand us as we communicate in human language. An age where machines know what we need before even we do. And an age where computers not only understand trends, but set them. At least, that's the pitch. So what is cognitive computing, why does it matter, how will it change the digital landscape, and what is the role of the digital strategist within it?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Mar 12, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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When you're listening to a speaker at a conference, and you start to frown...not thoughtfully, but distastefully, that's bad religion. When you reach for your phone because the speaker is trotting out platitudes and boring you, that's bad religion. When you get up from your seat and walk out the hall because the speaker is a pompous, self important jerk, that's bad religion. When you're the speaker, and this is happening to you, that's bad religion. Here's 4 tips on avoiding bad religion when...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Mar 6, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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A moment of inspiration. A spark of genius. A stroke of brilliance. The creative element that separates the good from the great is often described in transitory terms. It's there, and then it's gone. But while the ability to come up with that spark is important for the digital strategist, it's not enough. What matters is your ability to do so consistently, day in and day out. It's not enough to be the hare. You also have to be the tortoise. The good news is that there is a method to making the...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Feb 29, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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It's probably one of the most stressful parts of the job of the digital strategist; namely navigating an ecosystem of multiple agencies all executing work on behalf of the client. Under the wrong set of circumstances it can be wasteful, counterproductive, bureaucratic and frustrating. But when it is done well, it can be enormously rewarding and productive. Here's your guide to surviving and even thriving in this type of an environment.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Feb 20, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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An idea can move. An idea can inspire. An idea can make the difference. But that idea needs to be positioned, articulated and communicated in a way that will help an audience not only understand what makes the idea logically sound, it also needs to resonate emotionally. Understanding how to do that is at the core of the art of the pitch. And mastering this skill is what makes the difference between a good strategist, and a great one.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Feb 11, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Mark Schurtman is an experienced digital analyst & digital strategist with a proven track record of helping businesses distill digital marketing data into critical knowledge that enables them to operate more effectively online. As Campaign Analytics Manager at Zurich North America, Mark is known as a results-oriented, digital marketing professional. He is able to interpret, identify, define, analyze and drive business insights from digital metrics. Mark is passionate about clarifying the...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Feb 4, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Matthew Brown started his career in SEO in 2002, in a futile quest to get a semiconductor company's products found on the web. He served as Director of Search for the New York Times Company from 2005-2010, and founded two SEO consulting firms along the way. His last company was acquired by Moz in 2013, and he's currently serving as Chief of Product Strategy and Design at Moz. He still runs a portfolio of goofy websites with terrible content and has way too many ill-considered domain purchases....
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 31, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Product sale versus solution sale. What is the distinction, why is it important and how does it apply to strategy? I would argue that understanding the difference is one of the key strengths of a strategist, and leveraging that fact will make you more successful.
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 22, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Alec Van Noten has a wide range experience in online brand building, and currently holds the position of digital & online strategy manager at the Brandhome group where he has managed a broad range of national and international online branding projects. Alec is particularly focused on social media and their effect on brand building. He has combined this understanding with his entrepreneurial mentality, to create a series of unique social media campaigns. He also holds the Belgian record for...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 18, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Our industry loves the loudmouth. The relentlessly self-promoting, shameless, opinionated extrovert. Look at any awards list and it is consistently made up of the same people time and again. This is not an accident. Those that never tire of telling you about themselves seem to do well in an industry that is all about promotion. But we forget that at its core, our industry is about communication, and this works best when it flows in both directions. And that is a skill that the introvert is...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 5, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Author, Speaker, Digital and Social Transformation and social advocacy expert, founder of “Brands Rising”. Susan Emerick is recognized by industry leaders as the foremost authority on building, implementing, and measuring successful advocacy programs for leading brands. Susan is the co-author of The Most Powerful Brand on Earth: How to Transform Teams, Empower Employees, Integrate Partners and Mobilize Customers to Beat the Competition in Digital and Social Media – A must read for anyone...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Jan 3, 2016 Nasser Sahlool
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Developing a global digital strategy is a task of immense difficulty and complexity, but also one of the most satisfying things you can work on in your career as a digital strategist. But while it can be rewarding, how do you plan and deliver a global digital strategy without getting swallowed up by the enormity of the task?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Dec 28, 2015 Nasser Sahlool
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It's one of the most difficult functions of the digital strategist. It makes the difference between success and failure. And it defines your career. So why is it something that so many people struggle with? And how do you manage expectations while winning business and delivering profitable projects?
Octopus Digital Strategy
Dec 21, 2015 Nasser Sahlool
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Digital marketing is complex. It's also loaded with misinformation. That makes it hard to manage expectations, to maintain a position and to navigate competing agendas. In order to do so, from time to time it becomes necessary to say no. One syllable. Two letters. And yet it's something that people in our industry hate to do. Many have a natural tendency to avoid conflict. Others are simply scared to deny a request for fear of ruining and endangering a relationship. But a successful career in...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Dec 14, 2015 Nasser Sahlool
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"Make me care...emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically...just...make me care". That's Andrew Stanton, writer and director of the Toy Story movies and Wall-E explaining the key to great storytelling. Think about that statement and ask yourself the last time you sat in a meeting about digital marketing and really cared. It rarely happens, and I believe the reason is that there is a lack of awareness about how to tell a story in our industry. More than that, there's a widespread...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Dec 7, 2015 Nasser Sahlool
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The era of the Mad Men is drawing to a close. The Math Men are in the ascendancy. Programmatic buying and marketing automation mean that the skills that matter today are the technical skills required to manipulate systems and software. And yet, in the rush to automate and optimize, we are increasingly overlooking the element that has traditionally been at the heart of our industry, the element that gives us purpose, that elevates our work from pragmatic to sublime, and that ultimately...
Octopus Digital Strategy
Nov 28, 2015 Nasser Sahlool
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This year I turned 41 years old. Why does this matter? It matters because I work in an industry that is driven by image. What's more, the sub-set of that industry that I have built my career in, namely digital marketing is one that is characterized by rapid change, speed and disruption, all elements that are associated with youthfulness. I've heard it said that the key to a long-term career is to stay relevant. I don't believe this is true. Relevance is table stakes. It's the minimum required...